Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Postscript- David breaks his hip!

Well, it looks as if being on the water could be safer than being on the land!

We both became very relaxed on our holiday and Penny in particular was a bit worried about leaping straight back into lots of things. Well, I (Dave) have found a way to ease back into busy-ness slowly (three months) even though none of it was intentional (just tiredness and carelessness and misfortune).

We had only been back a couple of days and have not even unpacked the boat. I was cleaning leaves off the garage roof and out of the gutter. It is not particularly high. Since falling off a two storey roof 15 years ago I have been really careful with ladders but on this occasion, I had not noticed or realised the significance of the rotten, slimy, wet leaves on the concrete. Down went the ladder with me on top of it. I think I landed on the ladder which made things worse. The pain was excruciating and I could hardly breathe though my chest and neck were unhurt. I lay there moaning hoping a neighbour might have heard the noise or noticed but nothing happened.

I was extremely uncomfortable but then I realised that for some reason I had previously turned the inflated rubbed ducky upside down in the garage. It was so inviting! So, I crawled slowly to it through the dirt and leaves and painfully hauled myself onto it. What I did not realise was that the 40mm gash in my left hand was filling up with dirt and mulch- which would be difficult to get out later.

So, I lay there for a while until the brain started clicking again. I had been working for several hours and was not sure how long it would be before Penny or William might realise that I had not reappeared and there were no noises of work. Where I was, there are then 77 steps up to the top level of our house where Penny and William were. Fortunately, there is a cordless phone with intercom in the garage. So, I dragged myself across the floor and I still do not know how I got the phone, but I did. Then I dragged myself back to the rubber ducky because the pain was too great. Then I called on the intercom and asked for help. All of this probably took 20mins or so but it is hard to know.

I was fortunate that Penny and Will convinced me to go to the hospital. I was mainly worried about getting the hand stitched and did not think I had broken something though the pain was pretty bad. We should have called the ambo but of course I said no. So, it was a pretty painful trip and I really regretted not being in an ambulance but the Mona Vale Hospital and staff were marvellous when we got there and all of them have been great right through. People moan and bitch about hospitals but I am full of praise after this experience. If I had not gone to the hospital, I would almost certainly have done much worse damage to the hip. The femur is broken just below he ball joint of the hip. They operated the next day, straightened things out and screwed the bones together. They even had X-rays to show me what they had done as I came out of the anesthetic! The op took just under an hour. One thing I found interesting was that the pain and discomfort was much less after the operation. It kept being delayed as smash victims (eg 100km/hr jet ski crashes) and the like got wheeled in. I was getting worse up to then, but afterwards was so much better and turned off morphine and even panadol only a couple of hours after coming around. I had assumed I would hurt more from the surgical wound and from the intervention. Whereas the only thing was a badly swollen and sore left foot which apparently was from being on the traction table.

They did give me the option of almost three months flat on my back and then a huge rehab programme for the depleted muscles so it ended up being a "no brainer" to have the operation. The only slight worry with this approach is if the blood supply is insufficient and the whole ball joint dies or the lubricating fluid prevents healing. That would mean an artificial hip in a year....But, the chances are good and the specialist came to see me just before I checked out of the hospital and was feeling pretty confident. I must say that I just about flaked out while the doctor was going through all this on my right side while on the left, another doctor was putting deep injections into my left palm (apparently the skin there is thick and tough so it hurts more) and stitching it up. So, I turned white, things started spinning, my blood pressure dropped to 90/50....but, they fixed me up AOK.

After the operation, I was determined to get onto my feet (actually foot!). So, the nurses and physios instructed me in crutches and I had training sessions on the fire stairs so that I would be able to manage at home. Somehow, I convinced the discharge doctor that I would be able to manage going home Tuesday night rather than Wednesday. She made it happen so here I am at home. After discussions with the Occupational Therapist, Penny went off to rent various objects to help me around the home.

At the moment, the crutches are tough because I have a 40mm (stitched) gash in my left palm and a badly sprained wrist (all from the fall). Penny has rented various devices to make going to the toilet and showering possible. Paul (in Perth) went and assembled a shower device which he is posting over so I can avoid getting into shower cubicles. Avoiding a fall is paramount.

Anyway, I am coming to terms with being restricted and working out how to achieve things rather than worrying about what can't be done.

I am really lucky in some ways. Last year, I badly hurt my shoulder (lifting a small piece of PVC pipe). Then a couple of days later we went to France. For the first time in my life, I had something that did not fix itself. So, when we returned, It was three months of intense physio and exercises. I even had Yoniama and acupuncture which were firsts for me. It got to about 90% and then became completely healed on the boat. Then, I hurt my right knee running (which I had been doing for about 8 months). Had some physio, but it was still fairly bad when we left for Tassie. It became completely fixed on the boat and we did lots of walking which undoubtedly helped. So far, the shoulder and knee have been perfect and I am hoping they hold up. If either of them was still crook, I would be a basket case.

If Penny had not been so wonderful and exhausted herself visiting and running round, I would have been in hospital more like a week after the operation. William has also been fantastic and his strong shoulders have been great assisting me up and down.

One cause for chuckles. When I was practising on my crutches, I asked the nurses if I could do some sole practice up and down the long ward corridor. So, I set off. There were lots of patients, visitors, people in suits, doctors etc. I had got to one end and turned around when the laundry man came up and suggested I might like to wear a hospital gown around the other way. It was then I realised that I had paraded my naked bum all the way down the corridor! AAARRRRGGGHHH! I suppose that if one is going to do this sort of thing, then the ideal place is a hospital corridor!


Tess: I'm glad you have Mum and Will there, it would be hard to find a more competent, loving and caring support team. I'm impressed by Paul's creativity and insight as well! (04/15/09)

Peter gargano: Dave, I had a NOF (Neck Of Femur) fracture in 1999 (Easter). I fell on concrete off my brother's bike while doing some training along a bike path beside the Maribyrnong River. Moonee Ponds city council was upgrading the path and it suddenly ended! Three minutes after I came off some walkers went by asked and how I was (I was in agony!) but I said I'd be okay (and I thought I would be), but ten minutes later they came back and I got them to ring for an ambulance! I eventually had an operation at the Epworth and flew home 7 days later. I was cycling again 10 days after the fall, and 12 months later I had the hardware removed - It's in a bag I pull out every so often - I should donate it! I had fallen off bikes onto bitumen many times previously - a victim of more aggressive veteran cycle racing, but it must have been the angle I fell and the unyielding nature of the concrete! It took a good five years for most of my (left) upper leg's skin sensation to return to 90% of its normal. TTYL, Peter.  

Richard Lock: Hello there Penny and David In the process of evaluating S111's wondering if I could have a moment of your time to discuss. Regards Richard Lock 0404 806 505 Avalon NSW.  (05/22/11)

Tuesday, 07 April 2009

A Pittwater morning (Pinta Bay)

Washing machine #3

Log reads 1,340NM (approx 2,500km).

We had a pleasant time at Jibbon Beach in Port Hacking. We were unable to go down the shallow channel into the Royal National Park as the high tides were insufficient for our draft.

We did move around to Hordern's Beach at Bundeena for some minor shopping. Unlike previous trips, we avoided being swamped by big waves when taking the rubber ducky ashore.

A strong Southerly change came through in the early hours of Saturday morning. We expected the winds on Sunday to be too light and so set out at 1400 on Saturday. It was blowing 25-30kts. There was a 3.5m sea coming in from the South and a big 3-4m swell from the NE. The seas off Cronulla were tumultuous. Fortunately, things settled down a bit when we reached deeper water. As expected, we had almost a knot of current against us but still made reasonable time, getting into Broken Bay about 2100. It had not been quite as rough as Bass Strait, but definitely of "washing machine" status.

So, the trip is over, 'though we are spending a few days cruising around our own backyard in Pittwater and will be home Wednesday.

All the best, Dave and Penny no-footer

Val & Mike: Welcome home it has been fun following your cruise. Thanks (04/08/09)

Thursday, 02 April 2009

Turned back by the Navy

We decided to sail to Port Hacking on an "interesting" day with gale warnings and storm warnings North of Port Hacking and strong wind warnings where we were. However, we were confident the winds would ease as we got further North. No-one else was travelling. While we were in Jervis Bay, there was a Navy boat continually making approaches to a nearby buoy and we had joked about holding up score cards rating each of the attempts (presumably by trainees).

Anyway, we set out. The swells and seas at the entrance were enormous. However, we climbed each one and slid down the backs. We were heading out to our first waypoint 7NM away when a helicopterarrived and hovered close upwind. They held up a sign saying "range active" and made sign language to return, which we did. Penny got on the radio and found they had made a last minute decision to do firing practice. This meant we would have to go straight out to sea and stay 12NM offshore (22km) for some distance. This would have been directly into the wind and big seas. They told us we could have a dispensation and only go out 7NM but it was not practical. So, we returned to South Jervis Bay for an early lunch. They cleared boats out of virtually the whole Nth of the bay as well. One other boat had to move twice.

Anyway, we decided to go anyway after the "boom booms" stopped at midday. The first three hours were like being in a giant washing machine as the huge swells and big seas rebounded many miles off the cliffs. After that, it was only like being in a small washing machine. The recorded swells off Botany Bay were 4metre average, 7metre max. Due to some undetected wear on the wind steering paddle, it kept coming off (something that started in Bass Strait). So David hand steered all the way. Penny did everything else (feeding, radio, sail trimming, gybing). The boat handled it superbly, averaging 7kts (except near the JB cliffs). We got very wet with frequent squalls and were pleased to anchor in Port Hacking at 2am under sail. It was a strenuous trip. Due to the strong current against us, we sailed 85NM not counting the first abortive attempt.

We are resting today and drying things out.

Regds, Dave and Penny no-footer

tess: Thanks David and Penny no-footer. I'm glad you got in safely! Am looking forward to seeing you soon. (04/02/09)

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

in Jervis Bay

We had a good sail from Broulee to Jervis Bay, making it in just after sunset but with sufficient light remaining. Many dozens of dolphins again playing around the boat in transit and here in the Bay. Pleasant night followed today by an 11km walk in the National Park.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we are heading for Port Hacking. We are expecting 30kts on the beam at first so it should be a fast and wettish passage. 72NM which we should manage in 10-12hrs.

Best Regds, Dave and Penny no-footer

Saturday, 28 March 2009

In Broulee

We had an uneventful passage from Eden to Broulee. It was 80NM (about 150km). We got in around 10pm and anchored at the South end of Broulee Beach. After a walk around Broulee Island, we have relocated to the North end as we are now experiencing strong Northerly winds.

Broulee is between Batemans Bay and Moruya.

Yesterday, we again saw seals- probably the last for this trip as we are moving North, A pod of over 40 dolphins also came to visit at one stage but did not stay long.

We will move on to Jervis Bay in a few days.

We are again in the land of 3G-internet and better mobile phone coverage.

Best Regards,

Dave and Penny

Sunset over Snug Cove, Eden

Wild Peacock, Tasmania

Tamar Swan

Thursday, 26 March 2009

In Eden

Hi All,

This blog update got lost in the ether, so I am having to re-type it.

We hoisted the sails and upped the anchor on Sunday morning, leaving at 0800. There were some other boats there and they had a lousy night with a lot of rolling. Fortunately, we have our own proprietary "rocker stoppers" and had a perfect night's sleep.

As we went up Murray Pass, we notice about 150 fairy penguins sitting on a huge rock at the water's edge. A very pleasant sight to send us on our way.

The wind was light and all over the place with occasional squalls and light rain showers, but nothing nasty. We had a very slow trip of 43 hours arriving in Eden at 0230 on Tuesday morning. At the moment, we seem destined to arrive everywhere in the pitch black of moonless nights. Along the way, we saw a giant leatherback turtle, seals, albatrosses and huge numbers of dolphins which frequently came to say "hello". We saw two or three different varieties.

Although the low wind strength was a bit frustrating, the positive side was that we had benign conditions for Bass Strait. In front of us was a continuous row of thunderstorms and for once, we were chasing them rather than the other way around. The last 19 hrs was much faster than the first 24hrs during which we covered less than half the total distance. A slow-speed record for Pastime.

Here in Eden, we have done some minor re-provisioning. We carted about 11 days of washing up the hill to the laundromat only to find that it has shut down since our last visit. So, yesterday and today we festooned the lifelines with clothing. They were probably a topic of conversation from the tourist ferry that comes quite close. Today, we went ashore for hot showers and then headed South for Boydtown and East Boyd Bay. Boydtown was a disappointment but the bay here is beautiful. It has become a little full with other boats hoping to shelter from the Southerly front coming through this evening. We will head off for Broulee in the morning. This Southerly interlude will only last about 30hrs, so we will enjoy a few days exploring Broulee and Broulee Island. Then it will be off to Jervis Bay early next week.

All the best,

Dave & Penny